Raymond W L Powell

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RWLP Election Address to AGM 2014

Copy of Address by Vice President Mr A Bratton to AGM 2014

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Business Report to Executive Committee June 2015

Honorary Treasurer's objections to Business Report

Rebuttal e-mail to Honorary Treasurer's Objections

Catering e-mails to Officers of QRS
June 2nd
June 4th

Audit trail of e-mails regarding Commercial Manager's refusal to acknowledge seniority of Trustees
May 2015
March 2015
June 2014

David Aplin's interventions
May 2015

Quainton Railway Society Ltd

It is quite difficult to summarise the problems with the Quainton Railway Society Ltd (QRS) except to say there is a general intransigence to change fostered by both some long standing members and paid staff.

Change is always difficult for people especially employees who may fear such things could lead to redundancy or redeployment to tasks they do not wish to be involved. Unfortunately, in the case of QRS some staff have been elevated to positions that they are not entirely suited or have experience or training to carry out properly. This is not their fault but the bad practice of previous management regimes reacting to difficult economic times all of which are understandable where, again, professional management skills were absent.

It is easy to be wise after these events but the challenge is to correct the circumstances that bedevil the progress of the Society which has a long and somewhat successful history but is now trapped in its own convolutions.

The Society, which is a Charity limited by Guarantee, is governed by a elected board of Trustees known as the Executive Committee. All of the Committee are volunteers and by and large are “Enthusiasts” for the preservation of railway memorabilia chiefly associated with steam trains. It was apparent that during 2013 none of the Trustees had any real business entrepreneurial experience and the Society was marking time in terms of managing the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre (BRC) which is wholly owned by them for the purpose of displaying their exhibits to the general public and to raise funds to both support the Centre and continue the work of preservation of the exhibits many of these being working items.

The then Trustee had put in hand an application to the Arts Council for full Museum Accreditation but the application had not been progressed very vigorously by the time of the 2014 Annual General Meeting (AGM). During a period of about six months after this AGM the Society procured a grant to cover the cost of specialist consultant advice in relationship to presenting the proper documentation to the Arts Council in pursuance of the Accreditation. The BRC already hold the title of registered museum but full Accreditation opens the doors to further funding required to improve the whole museum complex. During the consultation period the appointed Consultant identified a number of management weaknesses most particularly in that of Sales and Marketing. The Society had become complacent in its presentation to the public staging the same events year on year and hardly varying the exhibits in favour of concentrating on restoring a number of steam locomotives.

Resultant from the consultation came the reorganisation of the Executive Committee members, (Trustees) taking on specific portfolio cabinet roles in an attempt to disassociate day to day management from broad Governance of the Society and the Museum (BRC). This has not been entirely successful due to the intransigence of certain key members and the virtual none recognition of these arrangements by paid staff.

Yours truly offered to stand for election to the Executive Committee at the time of the 2014 AGM and was elected on the mandate of trying to improve the business profile of the museum in order to attract more visitors and thus enhance the prospects of the museum to thrive and afford the work that it wished to progress. Naturally, when it came to the situation of assigning Portfolios I was given this agenda having a background of both corporate sales and marketing plus about 30-years of running a successful small business of my own. For the reader to understand how this task became quite impossible I am publishing a selection of e-mail dialogues that illustrate the problems that beset the QRS from going forward and the reason why I found it necessary to quit the organisation. At something over 70 years life is too short to do battle with obstinate individuals who resort to low levels of character assassination when their own arguments do not hold credibility.

The reader may click on the margin listing to gain insight of these affairs the most recent being listed first and older issues in dissending order except for the first two relating to the 2014 AGM.

Posted 01/07/2015